Review Summary: The Beautiful Girls may not be beautiful…or girls, but they can make great chill folk music and that’s what counts.
There are some days when you don’t feel like doing anything. Your dirty laundry is piling up around you, creating a fortress of stench and sweat in which you can protect yourself. It’s Sunday; and after some late night parties and gatherings from the past few days, you are just plain tired. You have school tomorrow, but a pencil is too heavy for you to lift right now. Forget trying to begin a couple hours worth of monotonous work, it’s time to just be lazy. Put on the Beautiful Girls’ Learn Yourself album, and you will be set for a day of nothingness.
Music and relaxation are constantly associated with one another, but the Beautiful Girls design their music entirely to helping the listener relax…or so it seems. Lazy drum beats and finger-strummed acoustic guitars caress the entire Learn Yourself album. One great thing about the album is that the listener always knows what to expect: never is there a sudden blast of electric guitar, or a pounding drum beat. The album is pure, well, euphoria. The Beautiful Girls are great at making chill-out folk music, and they never transgress the limits of what they know. This is great for someone who likes the kind of music they make, but it can obviously be a double-edged sword. Naturally, people will feel inclined to whine “every song sounds the same!” and “these guys put me to sleep!” Here’s the thing: the band is doing this on purpose!
Folk music really stands alone in its simplicity. While metalheads around the world are dying to get their fingers to play more notes per second, folk musicians are comfortable strumming one chord at a time. Take La Mar (The Ocean)
for example. This song consists of four chords. Four chords strummed over and over again. And, frankly, the song is brilliant! (Maybe it’s just me, but any song about the ocean seems to be great these days…take John Butler Trio’s Oceans, or Slightly Stoopid’s Ocean, etc. etc.) The song is packed with heartfelt lyrics of loss and mourning and the solo is, unsurprising simple, but nevertheless beautiful all the same. Really, Learn Yourself is full of thinking music. It’s music to just sit down, relax, and ponder. Let the music drift you away. Much of the album follows the same song structure and feel as La Mar
, but while the other tracks are enjoyable, La Mar
is the best.
Of course, The Beautiful Girls couldn’t write music all about tragedy and loss, there has to be some happiness they could sing about, right? Well, of course. The opening track, So It Seems
, a G. Love-esque track graces our ears from the start. I compare it to G. Love because it has that urban-acoustic-funky beat to it. Sadly, after this beat-boppin’ debut, the album drops off, plunging straight into the slow, philosophical mood that resumes for most of the album. That is, until Blackbird
comes around. Here is another standout track; a reggae influenced, thumping song about the fall of Babylon (another song about Babylon…sheesh.) This is one of the album’s highlights and earns its place as the fastest song on Learn Yourself. Wait a minute, what about the actual song, Learn Yourself
? How could we forget the album’s title track? I’ll tell you how: it is a three minute yawn-fest which fails to pick up any momentum or flow until near the end of the song. Alas, it has a good message and peaceful lyrics, but it is musically lacking.
Droll title track aside, Learn Yourself is a solid album. Although the album is a solid folk release, reggae elements do make a brief appearance throughout. This album will at least keep your interest for forty-some minutes. It’s a great example of modern Aussie-folk, and it keeps a better flow than most other Beautiful Girls albums. This is definitely worth checking out, or downloading at least. The album also includes a tribute to music itself with the track Music
, which is something that is much-needed and well-deserved.
'Cause I got music,
and it makes me feel alright.
Got this here music,
and it helps me ease my mind up.
'Cause I got music,
and it takes away the pain.
Got this here music,
and I got it every, every, every day.
True true guys.
La Mar (The Ocean)
So It Seems